This Restaurant In Mehrauli Brings Italian And Japanese Flavours To Delhi
Image Credit: Instagram/swandelhi

Among all its designer boutiques, Mehrauli also seems to have become a hub for al fresco restaurants. A staircase at the door next to Gaurav Gupta’s store leads to Swan, which is mainly a terrace restaurant. On a mild March evening, the terrace feels beautiful with multiple plants swaying in a light breeze. Outside, it is dimly lit, mainly with candles. The covered part is less appealing in comparison, but still tastefully decorated. 

The cocktail list includes signatures and traditional favourites. Short stories about each drink are written below each cocktail’s name. However, we wish that the menu listed what alcohol each drink uses, too. We start with a Lychee J-Pop, named after Japan’s fondness for the music genre, after a server tells us that it’s made with rum. It comes in a coupe glass, garnished with dainty purple edible flowers. It uses a substantial amount of rum, which the lychee and lemon cuts through nicely. Overall, it’s a tasty cocktail that’s also refreshing. 

Next arrives the crispy fried calamari with a jalapeno sauce. The squid rings are batter-fried but not oily, and retain a slight crunch. They go well with the jalapeno sauce, which adds a slight kick. The pork belly skewers come in a generous portion: three skewers, with three pieces of pork belly on each. The meat is tender and the fat has been left on, as should be the case with good pork belly anywhere. It breaks at the slightest pull of our teeth and the semi-sweet glaze leaves a pleasant reminder of it on the tongue. 

We also order sushi: a spicy salmon roll (with jalapeno, spicy mayonnaise and tempura flakes) and California roll (with crab, avocado and tobiko or fish roe). Both are good but not groundbreaking. The roe on top of the California roll adds a strange texture to the otherwise simple sushi, and the spicy salmon roll lacks spice (we couldn’t taste the jalapeno). However, the seafood in both cases tastes fresh. 

There’s no space in our tummies to try the Italian section on the menu, but the grilled stuffed morels and the charcoal grilled butterfly prawns catch our attention. We also wish we could try the soups: both the minestrone and the mushroom cappuccino sound tasty. Maybe we’ll reserve these for our next visit, which might not be too soon, considering there are other places in Delhi that excel at food. While Swan tries hard, little except for the terrace manages to blow us away.